William Kelly Major Works Commentary
And it came to pass afterward, that he went throughout every city and village, preaching and shewing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God: and the twelve were with him,Luke Chapter 8
Luke 8:1-3The last chapter broke out into the widest sphere, and brought in Divine power over human sickness and death - yea, more, Divine grace in presence of nothing but sin. Nevertheless moral ways are produced according to God's own nature. Grace does not merely forgive. Those who are forgiven are born anew, and manifest their new life in suitable ways, and this in due season by the power of the Holy Ghost.
In this chapter we find how grace goes forth in service. "It came to pass afterward, that he went through [the country], city by city, and village by village." How indiscriminate is His "preaching and announcing the glad tidings of the kingdom of God"!192 Anywhere and everywhere grace can go as to its sphere, but it distinguishes according to God's will; because He must be sovereign. He pardons whom He will, and whom He will He hardens. The twelve were with Him; and not they only, but "certain women who had been healed of wicked spirits and Infirmities, Mary, who was called Magdalene,193 from whom seven demons had gone out, and Joanna, wife of Chuza, Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others who ministered to him* of their substance." Thus we find grace produces fruits now, in this present life. I think it plain and certain that Mary Magdalene is not the person described in the last chapter as the woman who was a sinner. Tradition fluctuates, some supposing that the forgiven woman was Mary Magdalene, others Mary the sister of Lazarus; but to my own mind the internal evidence is conclusive that she was neither the one nor the other. In fact, there is evident moral beauty in the absence of her name. Considering that she had been a notoriously sinful woman in the city, why name her? The story was not to inform anyone who she was, but what the name of Jesus had been to her. It is His name, not hers, that is the great matter. And hence all the effect produced in her by the Spirit of God is according to this. She does not go before His face, but behind Him. She is at His feet, weeping, washing His feet with tears and wiping them with the hairs of her head. The Spirit of God, therefore, casts a veil over her person. However much she might be the object of grace, there is no indulgence of human curiosity. It was a part of the very plan of the Spirit that her name should not be mentioned. Mary, sister of Lazarus, stands before us in Scripture (whatever legends feign) a character evidently and altogether different, and remarkable, I should judge, for moral purity, as well as for that insight into God's mind which was brought about by the grace that gave it to her.
*"To him": so Wellhausen, with AL, etc., 1, 33, Memph. Arm., Aeth. Edd. (So Harnack) adopt "to them," after BDE and later uncials, 69, Amiat. Syrrpesch cu sin.
So also Mary Magdalene, although a desperate case, manifested evil of a wholly different nature. It was not corruption, but Satan's power. She was possessed; as we are told here, "from whom seven demons had gone out." This was her scriptural description, and uniformly so wherever she is brought before us. Never is moral looseness attributed to her.
But besides Mary Magdalene, one of those who ministered to the Lord of their substance was Joanna, the wife of Chuza, Herod's steward.194 Thus God called where one might least expect it: and she who was connected with the Court of the false king rejoiced to be permitted to follow the despised but true King, Jesus of Nazareth.
But others were not wanting - "Susanna and Many others," but of whom we know nothing, save that which grace gave them, in honouring Jesus to find their everlasting honour. They were attracted by the Lord Jesus, and ministered to Him as they could.
Luke 8: 4-15.195
Matthew 13:1-23; Mark 4:1-20.
"And a great crowd coming together, and those who were coming to Him out of each city, he spoke by parable."196 He was not come to be a king, though the King. He was come to sow, not to gather in and reap. This He will do by and by at the end of the He was come to produce what cannot be found in man - to give a new life that should bear fruit for God. "The sower went out to sow his seed." It is the activity of grace. "And as he sowed, some fell along the way; and it was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it up. And other fell upon the rock; and having sprung up, it was dried up, because it had not moisture; and other fell in the midst of the thorns; and the thorns having sprung up with [it] choked it: and other fell into* the good ground, and having sprung up, bore fruit a hundredfold. As He said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear."196a It is remarkable that we have not here, as in Matthew, "Some thirty, some sixty, some a hundredfold." We have only the complete result of grace: the modifying causes are not taken into account. There was good seed sown upon good ground, as He afterwards said, "That in the good ground, these are they who in an honest and good heart, having heard the Word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." The other cases are cases, not of good seed producing fruit imperfectly borne, but we have the moral hindrances to any fruit at all. Luke brings out the sad and painful fact that it is not Satan's power only that hinders souls from being saved and receiving the Word of God. The world hinders, flesh too, as well as Satan. Those are the three enemies that are brought before us.
*"Into": so Edd., following ABLΞ. D Syrsin have "upon."
The first is the open and evident power of Satan: "As he sowed, some fell along the way." There was no pretence of receiving it; it was simply dealt with contemptuously - "it. was trodden under foot, and the birds of the heaven devoured it up."
The next class is, "And other fell upon the rock." There was an appearance here. It spring up, but it was dried up, "because it had not moisture." These represent the persons who, "when they hear, receive the Word with joy, but having no root they believe only for a while, and in time of temptation fall away" - a very serious description; because there is apparent reception, but there is no root. They receive the Word with joy - not with repentance, but only joy. Now, there may be joy; but where there is no spiritual action in the conscience there is no root. This is exceedingly serious, especially in Christendom where people are apt to be taught the elements of Christian truth, and where they may be received on the faith of a parent - not of God's Word, but of a father, or mother, or teacher, brother, sister or anybody, the prevalent religion of the country, the common creed of Christendom. All these things may operate, but it is mere nature. It is the seed sown upon a rock 197: there is no real root; for conscience is the real door. Without conscience the Word of God has no abiding effect. The Spirit of God does not make great scholars, but leads poor sinners to believe and be saved. It matters not who the person may be; scholar or not, he must come as a Sinner, and if as a sinner, with repentance towards God. Now, repentance in its own nature gives a chastened feeling, horror of self, judgment of the whole man, certainty that all one's hope is in God, and the judgment of all that we are. This does not produce joy.198 Other things may gladden the heart, spite of and along with it. The mercy of God seen in Christ is most assuring; but "godly sorrow worketh repentance to salvation not to be repented of." They are mistaken who suppose that repentance is sorrow; but, nevertheless, such is its effect, where according to God.
That which fell among thorns represents those who, "having heard, go away, and are choked under the cares and riches and pleasures of life, and bring no fruit to perfection." 199 Luke views the matter in its full result, not in an individual, not the new nature hindered, but the new nature producing its full results. It is the Word not received from one cause or another; and where it is received, it is said to be those who, "in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." Along with the Word of God, there is the operation of the Spirit. It is these that produce this honest and good heart.200 Thus the heart is purified by faith, and that, working by the feeling and confession of our sinfulness. Luke, as always, brings out the moral roots, both of that which hinders and also of that which receives the Word. These "having heard the Word,201 keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience." 202
There is another point I would just observe. Matthew speaks of understanding - that is the great point with him who speaks of the Word of the kingdom. Luke speaks of the Word of God (not so much of the Kingdom, though we know it was the kingdom of God). But it is the Word of God - "the seed is the Word of God," that they who believe (not they who understand) should be saved. Matthew speaks of hearing and understanding, Luke of believing and being saved. This admirably suits the different objects of the Gospels. Matthew shows us already a people of God dealt with, put to the test by the Messiah proclaiming the kingdom of heaven; and those whose hearts were set on worldly objects did not understand the Messiah, nor care for the word of the Kingdom. But Luke shows us the Word of God dispersed; and although within the limits of Israel as a matter of fact for the time being, yet in its own nature going out to every city and village in the world. In principle already they are tending towards it, and about to be sent out actually in God's due time. Accordingly, it is not merely the Kingdom, but the Word of God. It is for man as such; and hence as the great mass of men outside Israel were wholly ignorant of the Kingdom, it was a question of believing, not of understanding. It is not a word they had already, or knew things either, that they could not understand, but it is a question of believing what God was sending. it was a new testimony to those who had been wholly in the dark, and consequently it was a question to them of believing and being saved. Thus we find, even in the minutest particulars, Luke was inspired to hold to that great design which runs through his Gospel - deep moral principles, and at the same time the going forth of grace towards man from God. It is as it were the Gospel of God in the salvation of men - just what we find in the Epistle to the Romans; and Luke, we must remember, was pre-eminently the companion of the Apostle Paul.
Then there are some further moral principles added. "No one having lighted a lamp, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a couch: but setteth it on a lampstand, that they who enter may see the light." To receive a new nature by the, operation of the Word of God is not enough. God raises up a testimony for Himself. Where a candle is lit, it is not meant to be covered: it is to shine, to give light, "that they who enter may see the light." God loves that the light should be apparent. Is it not there to be seen? 203 "For there is nothing hid which shall not become manifest." Darkness shrinks from the light, and man is in the dark, and loves darkness rather than light, because his deeds are evil. But God's resolve is that all shall appear. "For there is nothing hid which shall not become manifest; nor secret which shall not be known and come to light.204 Take heed therefore" - not only what, but - "how ye hear." The mingling of truth and error makes it of the greatest importance what we hear; and in Mark this is the warning: "Take heed what ye hear."205 But Luke regards the heart of man; and it is not only of importance what I hear from another, but how. I hear it myself. My own state may expose me either to receive error or to reject truth. It is not always the fault of what I hear, but my own. "Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given." Having is a proof of valuing. "And whosoever hath not, even that which he seemeth205a to have shall be taken from him." Where any do not really possess, it is not for want of God sending, but because of the unbelief that either has not at all or only seems to have. Nothing but faith possesses: and if I possess a little really, God will vouchsafe me more. "He giveth more grace." Jam 4:6.
Luke 8: 19-21.206
Matthew 12:46-50; Mark 3:31-35.
Jesus was going everywhere preaching and evangelising, followed by the twelve, and not without the worship of grateful hearts in the women who ministered of their substance. He came not a King as yet, but a Sower, and instead of governing in righteous power, was but creating a light of gracious testimony. He next disowns any association with Himself after the flesh, were it even His mother and His brethren. Whatever love to all, and even subjection to His mother, He owed, He most surely paid in full; but now it was a question of the Word of God, and nothing else would suffice. Thus even before His death and resurrection there was a complete moral break. Flesh does not understand the things of the Spirit. "That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." (John 3:6.)207 "It was told him [saying], Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, wishing to see thee. But he answering said to them, My mother and my brethren are those who hear the Word of God, and do [it]."*208 Natural links were proving themselves to be nothing now: all must be of God and grace; and this exactly falls in with the tone of our Evangelist.
*["It"]: EX, etc., 69, Memph., express this; but Edd. omit, after ABDLΔ.
Matthew 8:18; Mat 8:23-27; Mark 4:35-41.
Then we find the circumstances of those to whom the Word of God and the testimony of Christ was committed. Jesus goes into a ship with His disciples, and tells them to go over unto the other side of the lake. "And as they sailed he fell asleep; and a sudden squall of wind came down on the lake; and they were being filled [with water]." Humanly speaking, they "were in jeopardy." This was ordered of the Lord, and the enemy was allowed to put forth all his resources; but it was impossible that man should overthrow God, impossible that the Christ of God should perish. All the blessedness of the servants, if wise, would be seen to be concentrated in the Master, and all their security derived from Him. There was therefore no ground to faith why they should be alarmed. He fell asleep; He allowed things to take their course: but whatever might happen, the ship in which Jesus was could not be unsafe for those with Him. Jesus might be tempted of the devil, and might encounter all storms; but He came to destroy the works of the devil and to deliver; not to perish. It is true that, when the time came, He went down Himself into depths of sorrow, suffering, and Divine judgment - far, far greater than anything that the winds or waves could do; but He went down to the death of the Cross, bearing the burden of our sins before God, and enduring all God felt against them, in order that, rising again, He might righteously deliver us to God's glory. The disciples, knowing nothing as they ought, through unbelieving anxiety for themselves (for this it is that blinds the eyes of God's people), come to Him and awake Him with the cry, "Master, master, we perish!" They told the secret. Had their eyes been upon the Master, according to what He was before God, impossible they could have spoken of perishing. Could He perish? No doubt, separated from their Master, they might, nay, must perish; but to say "Master, master" to Jesus, and "we perish" was nothing but unbelief. At the same time they showed, as unbelief always does, their intense selfishness. Their care was for themselves, not for Him. "Then he, rising up,* rebuked the wind and the raging of the water,209 and they ceased, and there was a calm." Any other would have first rebuked them. He rebuked the raging of the wind and water; and when there was a calm He asked them, "Where is your faith?" And, being afraid, they were astonished, saying to one another, "Who, then, is this! that he commands even the winds and the water, and they obey him?" It is evident that all depended upon the Master. The disciples were to be sent forth on a most perilous mission; but the strength was in Him, not in them; and they from the very beginning had to learn that even Jesus inquired, "Where is your faith?"
*"Rising up": so AD and later uncials with cursives, and Syrsin; but Edd. adopt "awaking," after BL, 33.
Matthew 8:28-34; Mark 1-20.
Then we find another scene: not the enemy's power shown in stirring up what we may call nature against Christ and His disciples, but the direct presence of demons filling a man. We have this desperate case set forth in one who had been thus possessed for a long time.* He had broken with all social order; he "put on no clothes, and did not abide in a house, but in the tombs." A more dreadful picture of human degradation through the possession of demons could not be. "But seeing Jesus, he cried out,† and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with Thee, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? I beseech thee, torment me not." 210 The demons had the consciousness of the presence of their Conqueror, the Conqueror of Satan. They dreaded to be bruised under His feet; for Christ had commanded the unclean spirit to go out from the man and then we have a further description of this power of Satan: "For very often it had seized him; and he had been bound, kept with chains and fetters; ' and breaking the bonds, he was driven by the demon into the deserts." Jesus was led of the Spirit there, but the devil led this man in misery; whereas Christ went in Divine grace, and in order righteously to break the power of Satan.
*"Had demons a long time": so A, later uncials and most cursives, Syrr, etc.; but Tisch. and W. H. (Revv.) adopt the order of BL, 33, etc., Memph. "For a long time he put on, etc."
†"He cried out": so Edd., with BDL, etc., 33. - AEΔ, etc., 1, 69, have "and crying out."
That the awfulness of the case might be more fully brought out, Jesus asks him, "What is thy name? And he said, Legion: for many demons had entered into him. And they besought* him that he would not command them to go away into the bottomless pit."211 They dreaded their hour. There was the instinctive sense in these demons that Jesus would commit them to the abyss. "And there was there a herd of many 212 swine feeding on the mountain; and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into those; and he suffered them. And the demons, going out from the man, entered into the swine; and the herd rushed down the precipice into the lake, and were choked." This at once roused those who had the charge of them. "But they that fed [them], seeing what had happened, fled, and told† [it] to the city and to the country." They come out, and find the man from whom the demons had gone out, "sitting, clothed and sensible, at the feet of Jesus." 213 "They were afraid." Now the state of the people discloses itself. Had there been one particle of right feeling, they would have given thanks to God; they would have been in the presence of One Who, though to be bruised by him, was to break Satan's power for ever. But though they saw "the man from whom the demons had gone out, sitting, clothed and sensible, at the feet of Jesus, they were afraid," though they knew how the demoniac had been healed; still, their own hearts were not won, but the very reverse appeared. "All the multitude of the surrounding country of the Gadarenes‡ asked him to depart from them." Ah, foolish Gadarenes! who bewitched you? They all had, alas! a common interest; but the common interest of men was to get rid of Jesus. That was their one desire. After the certainty of His gracious power, after the plain overthrow of Satan's energy before their eyes, after the deliverance of their fellow, restored now, and sitting, clothed and sensible, all their thought was to beseech Jesus to depart from them, "for they were possessed with great fear." What a proof of the delusion of men! Whatever might be their terrors in presence of the man possessed with a legion of demons, they had greater fear of Jesus, and their hope and object was to get rid of Him as fast as possible. He brought in all that was holy, true, loving. He fed, He healed, He delivered; but man had no heart for God, and consequently sought only how to get rid of Him Who brought in the power of God. Any other person was more welcome. What is man! Such is the world.
*"They besought (παρεκάλουν)": so Edd., after BCD, etc., 1, 33, 69, Memph. Arm. - A, etc., have παρεκάλει (Stephens and Beza), as if "he besought," which is treated as a correction from Mark 5:10. The classical conjunction of neut. plur. with sing. verb, the Hellenistic Greek of the N.T. does not always follow.
†Before "told" some minuscules have "departing," which Edd. reject after ABCDLΞ, 1, 33, 69, Syrr, etc. (from Matthew).
‡"Gadarenes" (Cf. Luke 5:26): so Blass, after corr, AD, etc., Syrr cu sin. - "Gergesenes" is the reading (followed by Tisch.) of pm, Ccorr, L, etc., 1, 33, Memph.; "Gerasenes" (W. H., Weiss) of BCpm, D, Old Lat.
Not so with him that was healed. He besought Jesus that he might be with Him, and thus stood in moral contrast with the whole multitude which besought Him to depart from them. He had been in far more awful circumstances than they. But such is the power of God's grace. It creates and forms what we should be. If any one, according to natural antecedents, might have been expected to keep far away from Jesus, it was this demoniac, so completely had he been led captive of Satan at his will. But he was delivered, and so perfectly from the first hour, that his one desire was to be with Jesus. This was the first-fruit of the Spirit's action in a man whom grace had delivered - the untutored instinct of the new man to enjoy the presence of Jesus. The simplest soul that is born of God has this wish.
"But he sent him away, saying, Return to thine house, and relate how great things God hath done for thee." He will have his desire later; meanwhile "Return to thine house." This is of price with the Lord, to show God's wonderful works, not merely to strangers, but to one's own house. Such as they would know best the shame, and sorrow, and degradation to which he had been reduced. Therefore Jesus says, "Return to thine house, and show how great things God hath done for thee." The man in faith bows and understands; whatever might be his heart's desire, he is now to do the good, holy, and acceptable will of the Lord. "He went away through the whole city,214 publishing how great things Jesus had done for him." Mark, it is of Jesus he speaks. Jesus would have him to tell what God had done; and God would have him to tell what Jesus had done. This could not have been had Jesus not been the Son of God Himself. Though the lowliest servant of God, He was none the less also God. The man was right. He was not contravening the will of God, nor breaking the command of Jesus. Its spirit was the more kept, even if in the letter it might sound somewhat differently. God is honoured best when Jesus is most shown forth.
Matthew 9:18-26; Mark 5:21-43.
Two other scenes (interwoven, it is true) close the chapter. The Lord is appealed to by Jairus, the ruler of the synagogue. "He, falling at the feet of Jesus, besought him to come to his house." This was the way in which a Jew expected to be healed - by the coming of Messiah to his place. "Because he had an only daughter about twelve years old, and she was dying." 215 Such was the condition of the daughter of Zion now. Israel was proving that there was no life in them; but Christ is entreated, and He goes for the purpose of healing Israel.
While He is on the way, a woman crosses His path, having a most urgent need - "a flux of blood216 twelve years, who having spent all her living* on physicians, could not be cured by anyone. It was therefore a hopeless case, humanly speaking. Nevertheless she comes behind Him in the desperate sense that now was her opportunity, and "touched the hem 117 of His garment. And immediately her flux of blood stopped." The Lord was, of course, conscious of that which was done. If faith feels the grace and power of Jesus in any measure, and applies ever so feebly, hesitatingly, and tearfully, Jesus knows it well, and yearns over that soul. His heart was towards her, and He would have her know it. She touched Him from behind. Jesus would bring her into His presence, face to face, and would have her to know that His hearty consent went with the blessing which she had seemed to steal but really acquired by the touch of faith. Hence He says, "Who has touched me?" It was in vain that Peter or the others sought to explain it away, when all denied. It was in vain to say that the multitude thronged, and therefore why ask who touched Him.† The Lord stood to it: somebody had touched Him. It was not a crowd's pressure: it was not an accident. It was distinctly one who had touched Him. There was the real recourse of faith, however weak. "Jesus said, Someone hath touched me, for I have known that power hath gone out from me." The multitude thronging could extract no virtue: not thus did Jesus heal. No such external pressure is of avail to bring blessing out of Him. But the soul that finds itself near to Jesus, and touches, however timorously, never fails to gather blessing from Him. "And the woman, seeing that she was not hid [this was not the state in which the Lord would leave her, nor any who are blessed], came trembling, and, falling down before him, declared [unto him]‡ before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was immediately healed." The glory of God was thus secured, and a bright testimony to Him was rendered; but her heart needed also to be thoroughly restored. She must learn what love God has, and how completely Jesus would give her communion with Himself in the blessing conferred. Thus is the Giver known, and the gift enhanced infinitely. It was not something stolen, but freely imparted. Therefore says He, "Be of good courage, daughter."§ He uses the term of affection expressly to banish all terror and uneasiness. "Be of good courage, daughter; thy faith hath healed thee; go in peace. "What a joy it would be to her ever afterwards to know that she had not only got the mercy her body needed from God, but that the Saviour, the Lord God who healed her diseases, the ever blessed Physician, had spoken to her, given her His own warrant, comforted her when her heart was utterly afraid, used terms even of such endearment towards her, owned her faith, feeble as it was, and finally sent her away with a message of peace.
*"Having spent all her living on physicians": so Tisch., from ACDL and later uncials, cursives. - W. H., Weiss and Blass omit, after BD, Syrsin, Arm. (reminiscence of Mark 5:25).
†"And sayest thou, Who has touched me?": so ACD and later uncials, cursives, Old Lat. and Syrr. Edd. omit, after BL, Sahid. Memph. Arm. (from Mark).
‡After "declared." Cpm, E, and some later uncials have "to him," which Edd. omit, after ABCcorr, DL, 1, 33, 69, Syrrpesch cu sin, Old Lat. Memph.
§["Be of good courage"]: so AC, etc., most cursives (33, 69), Syrrpesch hcl, Goth. Aeth. Arm. Edd. omit, after BDLΞ, 1, Syrrcu sin, most Old Lat. Sah. Memph. (from Matthew).
"While he was yet speaking, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; do not trouble the teacher. But Jesus hearing it, answered him, saying,* Fear not: only believe, and she shall be made well."
*"Saying": so ACD, etc., Syrsin, Memph. Goth. Arm. - Edd. omit, after BL, etc., 1, 33, Syrcu.
Such turns out to be the real condition of Israel, not sick only, but dead. But Jesus carried within Himself the secret of resurrection. He is equal to all emergencies, and knew infinitely better than they both the maiden's need and His own mighty power. He did not come down to do what others might have done. An angel may trouble the pool of Bethesda for a man not too infirm to step in immediately. The Son quickens whom He will. And the Jews, long rebellious in unbelief, long seeking to destroy His name Who by such a claim makes Himself equal with God, will yet own the despised Messiah as their Lord and their God, and the dry bones shall live; and all Israel, at length saved, shall blossom and bud, and fill the face of the world with fruit! Isaiah 27:6. Of this the sick and now dead maiden is the pledge; and He, Who then bids her father fear not but believe, will redeem the pledge He gave of old.
"And when he came to the house, he suffered no one to go in,* but Peter, and John, and James,† 218 and the father of the child and the mother. And all were weeping and lamenting her. But he said, Do not weep; for‡ she hath not died, but sleepeth.219 And they derided him, knowing that she had died. But he, having turned them all out,§ and taking hold of her hand, cried, saying, Child, arise. And her spirit returned, and immediately she rose up; and he commanded [something] to eat to be given to her. And her parents were amazed, but he enjoined them to tell no one what had happened." The spirit of scorn then and there was but a little sample of what is to be; but such can have no portion in the blessing permanently. For while many of Israel that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, with some it will be to shame and everlasting contempt, as surely as with others to everlasting life. Daniel 12:2. For they are not all Israel that are of Israel. But the word of gracious power shall go forth from Him in Whose eyes the virgin daughter of Zion was not dead, but sleeping; and she shall arise. And He Who at length wakes her up from her death sleep, shall care for her and strengthen her for the great work to which Zion will then be called. It was, however, but a passing act of power then; the time was not yet come for more; and Jesus charged them to tell none what was done. If He were not received Himself, if His word were refused, it was vain to publish His power; unbelief would only turn it to worse evil.
*"Came to": so most texts (Edd.); D has "entered into." - After "to go in," Edd. add "with him," as in BCpmD, etc., 33, 69, Memph. Aeth. which ACcorrR, Syrcu, Goth. Arm. omit.
†"John and James": so Edd., after BCDERΔ, etc., 1, 69, Old Lat. - AL, etc., 33, Amiat., Syrrpesch cur sin, Memph. have "James and John."
‡"For": so Edd., following BCDFL, etc., 1, 33,69, Syrr. Memph. - AER, etc., and Amiat. omit.
§"Having turned them all out, and": so A and most later uncials, etc., 33, 69, Syrrpesch hcl. - Edd. omit, following ABDLX, and cursives, with Syrrcu sin, most Old Lat. Aeth. (regarded as from Mark).
NOTES ON THE EIGHTH CHAPTER.
192Luke 8:1. - "Throughout every city . . . village." Christ left, accordingly, His abode at Capernaum (Matthew 11:1) and began an itinerant ministry. "The good news was not to be confined to places where there were synagogues" (Stuart, p. 92).
To "preach" (κηρύσσειν, to herald) "implies solemnity of announcement" (Darby-Smith). Cf. Luke 9:2 and Acts 28:31. When Luke speaks of the simple Gospel of Grace, he specially uses εὐαγγελίζειν: Luke 4:18, Luke 7:22, Luke 9:6, Luke 20:1. For "glad tidings of the kingdom of God," cf. Matthew 4:23, etc.
In considering the relation of the "Kingdom" to the "Gospel," it is needful to grasp the bearing of a passage like Luke 12:50 upon such as Luke 24:27. As "Minister of the Circumcision" (Romans 15:8), our Lord limited Himself to the Jewish people. Even in the Fourth Gospel we find Him saying that "salvation is of the Jews" (John 4:22). Cf. the Expositor's remark on verse 11 here. The Apostle Paul began his ministry with "the Gospel of the Grace of God" (Acts 20:24) in its world-wide significance and scope; and it is in the form which that Gospel took in his hands that Christians of the "uncircumcision" have to set it forth. But "the Gospel of Christ," of which he says he was not ashamed (Romans 1:16), for him retained the double aspect of grace and works (Luke 3:8), and was not divested of the second characteristic when it acquired its wider scope. It is lamentable how no less a writer than Calvin found in "Kingdom" only a synonym for "Gospel renewing men into God's image" ("Works," p. 185, quoted by W. Kelly in his "Exposition of Acts," vol. ii., p. 198).
On the relation of the KINGDOM to the CHURCH, as to which Professor Wellhausen and Bishop Gore really occupy the same unsatisfactory position, cf. note 21 on Mark. See, further, note on 18: 16 f.
193Luke 8:2. - "Mary Magdalene." Origen distinguished her from the woman of chapter 7. See notes above on Luke 7:37. Wesley's comment shows that he followed Gregory "the Great."
"Out of whom went," etc. Bruce: "In the Gospels demoniacal posession is something quite distinct from immorality." "Seven demons" may be a formula. It often occurs in the Babylonian magical texts, some of which are exhibited in the British Museum. Cf. the "seven spirits" of Luke 11:26, and also the same expression in Revelation 1:4. Dr. Whyte has taken "Mary Magdalene" as subject of his discourse LXXXI. in "Bible Characters."
194Luke 8:3. - This explains Matthew 14:2, where Herod is said to hear of Jesus.
"Ministered to Him their substance." The innkeeper Gaius in the "Pilgrim's Progress" says: "I read not that ever any man did give unto Christ so much as one groat; but the woman followed Him and ministered," etc. For "Joanna," again see Luke 24:10. "Chuza": American Revv., "Chuzas."
195Luke 8:4 ff. - Here Luke resumes the same thread as that of Mark's narrative, dropped at 6: 19. Farrar treats the present passage as an illustration of the Synoptists' non-use of each other's narrative or of a common source.
See Spurgeon's Sermons, 308, 1132, 1457, 2040; Maclaren, vol. i., pp. 230-241; also Irving's six lectures on the passage (Sermons, ii., p. 243 ff.). Augustus Hare has preached from verse 11 (Sermons, vol. ii., p. 17).
196 PARABLES. - A "parable" (comparison) serves the purpose of religious, as a fable that of moral, instruction. It may be very terse, as in Luke 6:39 above. As to the design of our Lord's parables, see Bruce, p. 16, comparing A. P,. Habershon, p. 3 ff.
On the interpretation, see Trench, chapter iii., also A. R. Habershon, p. 13 f. Jülicher questions the need of interpretation, regarding the Gospel parables as in general self-explanatory, and conceiving that every difficulty would disappear if the original connection were known. The Lord, he alleges, did not, as a rule, explain them. But see Mark 4:34. The Marburg professor holds that it was the Evangelists who imported allegorical features into them. Trench's work, of course, is not to his taste (p. 300). Stevens (p. 43) is influenced by Jülicher's theory. Saneness of view is, happily, not in such a bad way in this country.
On the connection between the parables and the miracles (note 107 above) see A. R. Habershon, chapter xiv. The parables peculiar to Matthew are characteristically dogmatic and judicial; those solely special to LUKE, ethical and merciful.
Several writers offer a classification: Westcott's would be found in his "Introduction to the Study of the Gospels" (p. 393 f.), a work accessible to most readers.
Godet: (α) Parables referring to the Kingdom of Heaven (God) under the old dispensation, as that of the Fig Tree (Luke 13:6-9); (β) to the new dispensation, as that of the Sower, here; (γ) the Kingdom as realized in individual life, e.g., that of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:29-35).
Bruce: (α) Parables of the Kingdom, e.g., the seven in Matt. 13, and in Luke 19:12-27; (β) of the Gospel (goodness), as the three in Luke 15; (γ) those which are judicial and prophetic (righteousness), as the Barren Fig Tree of chapter 13.
Jülicher: (α) Strict, simple similitudes or comparisons, as in Luke 14:28-33, the man intending to build a tower, and the king going to make war against another; (β) amplified comparisons (parables proper), as the visit, to a friend at midnight, Luke 11:5-8; (γ) exemplary narratives, as that of the Good Samaritan, Luke 10:30 ff.
The number of parables is put by Trench as thirty; Bruce finds thirty-three; others, many more.
There is a suggestive paper on the Lucan parables by Swete in Expositor, Aug, 1903. These come under the following heads:-
(i.) Salvation: The Two Debtors (Luke 7:41 ff.); the Great Supper (14: 22 ff.) the Lost Coin (Luke 15:8 ff.); and the Lost Son (Luke 15:11 ff.). (ii.) Prayer: the Midnight Visitor (Luke 15:5 ff.); the Importunate Widow (Luke 18:1 ff.); and the Pharisee and Publican (Luke 18:9-14). (iii.) Service: the Barren Fig Tree (Luke 13:6 ff.); the Ploughing Slave (Luke 17:7 ff.); and the Pounds (Luke 19:12 ff.). (iv.) Social Relations; the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:30 ff.); the Rich Fool (Luke 12:16 ff.); the Dishonest Steward (Luke 16:1 ff.); and the Rich Man and Lazarus (Luke 16:19 ff.). All but one, it will be seen, belong to the section Luke 9: 51 - 18: 14.
There are no parables in the apocryphal gospels, one sign of their inferiority, as the multiplication of their alleged miracles is another.
196a Luke 8:10. - "The mysteries of the Kingdom." Cf. Matthew 13:11; and p. 284 of the Expositor's "Lectures" on Matthew. Cf. also note on Luke 19:12; Luk 19:15.
196b "The seed is the Word." Cf. Jam 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23.
197Luke 8:13 - "Rock," the "stony heart of flesh" in 11: 19, Ezekiel 36:26.
198 "With joy." So Bunyan's "Man in the Iron Cage," See Spurgeon's Sermon, 1132.
199Luke 8:14. - "Life," βίος. B. Weiss ("Manual Comm.") aptly refers to Mark 12:44, comparing 1 John 2:16. Bunyan selects Demas (2 Timothy 4:10), as a Biblical illustration of the Lord's words here. See Spurgeon's Sermon, 2040.
200Luke 8:15. - "Honest and good," the Greek ideal, καλὸς κἀγαθός. The word ἀγαθός is like the Heb. tou (Wellhausen, Prolegomena to "History of Israel," p. 345), "good" as doing good; cf. Matthew 7:17, Matthew 20:15, Matthew 25:21 ff. Καλός, "excellent," finds illustration in Mary of Bethany, as ἀγαθός in Joseph of Arimathaea (Bruce ad loc.).
Upon the understanding of this parable hangs that of all others. See Mark 4:13.
201 "Keep." Matthew has "understand"; Mark, "receive."
202 "Patience" or "endurance." Cf. Romans 2:7, and for the whole verse, John 15:2.
203 - Luke 8:16. - See again at Luke 11:33.
204Luke 8:17. - Cf. Matthew 10:26.
205 - Luke 8:18. - "How ye hear." Preaching upon 1 Corinthians 8:1 ff., F. W. Robertson has shown how much of what passes under the name of "definite religious construction" the Apostle Paul would have rated as secular knowledge. By, "knowledge," he says, "the Apostle meant not merely knowledge without Christian doctrine, but knowledge without Love" (p. 146). So must it be where the Spirit of God is not enlisted in the work. No Parliamentary legislation can really secure us against such a state of things. Even the teacher's believing in what he teaches does not suffice. Much of the current unbelief has either been generated or accentuated by "a form of godliness without the power." "Many a person now zealous on this point of 'education' would be content if only the Bible, without note or comment, were taught. But St. Paul would not have been content; he would have calmly looked on and said, 'This also is secular knowledge. This, too, is the knowledge which puffeth up.' It is the spirit in which it is acquired which makes the difference between secular and Christian knowledge. It is not so much the thing known, as the way of knowing it" (p. 147). How eminently true this is of the facts of our Lord's life. Cf. note 46 on Mark.
205a - Luke 8:18. - "Seemeth." For R.V., "thinketh" (δοκεῖ), cf. 1 Corinthians 10:12.
206Luke 8:19 ff. - In Matthew and Mark this incident precedes the Parable of the Sower, already passed in Luke.
Comparing the passage in Mark just named with this, Carpenter comments on the earlier statement, as he interprets it, that Mary joined the Lord's "brethren" in an endeavour to put Him under restraint as being out of His wits, upon which Matthew and Luke alike are silent: he calls the conjunction of knowledge of the supernatural birth on her part with this attitude as "incredible." Some proof must first be offered that she was other than a passive instrument of the others whose ebullition is described. Cf. notes on Luke 1:34 and Luke 4:22207 The names of our Lord's brethren are given in Matthew 13:55 and Mark 6:3; that of "James" first in each, to whom the Lord appeared after His resurrection (1 Corinthians 15:7): he was accounted a "pillar" of the Church at Jerusalem (Galatians 2:9; cf. Luke 1:19); and is prominent in Acts 15:13 ff. The first description of him as "bishop" of that Church is in the "Clementine Recognitions," a theological romance of the second century.
"Jude" may have been the writer of the Epistle under that name.
Here arises the question, which has never ceased to be discussed, as to the parentage of these "brethren" of JESUS. There are three theories:-
(1) The Epiphanian - that they were sons of Joseph by an earlier marriage. So Origen, the late Bishops Westcott and Lightfoot and Dr. Salmon. It is the traditional, so-called "Catholic" view, by which the perpetual Virginity is maintained (as to which myth, see Sir E. Anderson, "The Bible or the Church," p. 256).
(2) The Hieronymian - after Jerome - that they were cousins of the Lord, as sons of Mary's sister. Few now support this view.
(3) The Helvidian - that they were our Lord's "uterine" brethren, that is, were children of Mary and Joseph. So Meyer, Alford, Godet, Weiss, Farrar, Andrews, Mayor (Introduction to his edition of the Epistle of James, and Papers in Expositor for July, August, 1908), W. Kelly, etc.
The first view, ably as it was championed by Bishop Lightfoot, is excluded by the fact that then one of Joseph's natural sons must have been his eldest son, and so by law his heir (Edersheim, "Life of Jesus, etc.," vol. i. p. 364). In his Homily quoted by Lightfoot, Origen says that Scripture nowhere speaks of Mary having other children; but he must have forgotten the Messianic Psalm 69:8.
Those who follow Jerome think that "Judas of James" in Luke 6:16 means "J. brother of J.," but Bishop Lightfoot was clear that it means "son."
208Luke 8:24. - Cf. Jam 1:25, and verse 18 above.
209Luke 8:25. - According to Matthew's account, the Lord administered the rebuke before he stilled the storm.
210Luke 8:28. - "What have I to do with thee?" Cf. 2 Chronicles 35:21 in the LXX. version, idduced by Maldonatus. Here follow the words: "I do not come to make war on thee." And so here, "Why shouldest Thou vex me?" (Carr).
"Son of God." (Cf. Matthew 8:29; Mark 5:7.) See Stalker, p. 98 f., who effectively disposes of German denial of anything higher than the established theocratic sense of the title.
"Had commanded"; or (as American Revv.) "was commanding" (παρήγγελλεν).
211Luke 8:31. - See Trench, who shows consistency of this with Mark's statement.
"The abyss see Revelation 20:1-3.
212Luke 8:32 f. - "Many." Mark says "two thousand."
"Choked ": American Revv. "drowned."
213Luke 8:35. - "At the feet of Jesus," not so much as a scholar (Weiss, after Meyer), as in token of the Lord's delivering power (Colin Campbell, p. 171, referring to verse 8).
214Luke 8:39. - Mark says "in Decapolis." Cf. the Lord's way of commissioning the leper, Mark 1:41; the young ruler, Mark 10:21; and the man in 9: 19. See also note 52 on Mark. There is a sermon of J. H. Newman on this incident, reproduced in Allenson's reprint (No. IV.).
215Luke 8:42. - (Cf. verse 49). See note 53 on Mark.
216Luke 8:43. - Cf. Leviticus 15:19. Some MSS. of the "Gospel of Nicodemus" give her name as "Bernice" in Greek, the "Veronica" of Latin.
217Luke 8:44. - "Tassel," the fringe (zizith) of Numbers 15:38, Numbers 22:12; Deuteronomy 22:12; See Schor, p. 85. Norris: "Faith, though disfigured by superstition, may still be blessed." As to this incident, see Whyte, "Bible Characters," No. LXXX.
218Luke 8:51. - "Peter, John and James." The order is peculiar to Luke here, and at Luke 9:28; Acts 1:13. These three were thrice singled out on special occasions (here; Transfiguration; Gethsemane).
219Luke 8:52. - Norris aptly compares Luke 20:38.
And certain women, which had been healed of evil spirits and infirmities, Mary called Magdalene, out of whom went seven devils,
And Joanna the wife of Chuza Herod's steward, and Susanna, and many others, which ministered unto him of their substance.
And when much people were gathered together, and were come to him out of every city, he spake by a parable:
A sower went out to sow his seed: and as he sowed, some fell by the way side; and it was trodden down, and the fowls of the air devoured it.
And some fell upon a rock; and as soon as it was sprung up, it withered away, because it lacked moisture.
And some fell among thorns; and the thorns sprang up with it, and choked it.
And other fell on good ground, and sprang up, and bare fruit an hundredfold. And when he had said these things, he cried, He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.
And his disciples asked him, saying, What might this parable be?
And he said, Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God: but to others in parables; that seeing they might not see, and hearing they might not understand.
Now the parable is this: The seed is the word of God.
Those by the way side are they that hear; then cometh the devil, and taketh away the word out of their hearts, lest they should believe and be saved.
They on the rock are they, which, when they hear, receive the word with joy; and these have no root, which for a while believe, and in time of temptation fall away.
And that which fell among thorns are they, which, when they have heard, go forth, and are choked with cares and riches and pleasures of this life, and bring no fruit to perfection.
But that on the good ground are they, which in an honest and good heart, having heard the word, keep it, and bring forth fruit with patience.
No man, when he hath lighted a candle, covereth it with a vessel, or putteth it under a bed; but setteth it on a candlestick, that they which enter in may see the light.
For nothing is secret, that shall not be made manifest; neither any thing hid, that shall not be known and come abroad.
Take heed therefore how ye hear: for whosoever hath, to him shall be given; and whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken even that which he seemeth to have.
Then came to him his mother and his brethren, and could not come at him for the press.
And it was told him by certain which said, Thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to see thee.
And he answered and said unto them, My mother and my brethren are these which hear the word of God, and do it.
Now it came to pass on a certain day, that he went into a ship with his disciples: and he said unto them, Let us go over unto the other side of the lake. And they launched forth.
But as they sailed he fell asleep: and there came down a storm of wind on the lake; and they were filled with water, and were in jeopardy.
And they came to him, and awoke him, saying, Master, master, we perish. Then he arose, and rebuked the wind and the raging of the water: and they ceased, and there was a calm.
And he said unto them, Where is your faith? And they being afraid wondered, saying one to another, What manner of man is this! for he commandeth even the winds and water, and they obey him.
And they arrived at the country of the Gadarenes, which is over against Galilee.
And when he went forth to land, there met him out of the city a certain man, which had devils long time, and ware no clothes, neither abode in any house, but in the tombs.
When he saw Jesus, he cried out, and fell down before him, and with a loud voice said, What have I to do with thee, Jesus, thou Son of God most high? I beseech thee, torment me not.
(For he had commanded the unclean spirit to come out of the man. For oftentimes it had caught him: and he was kept bound with chains and in fetters; and he brake the bands, and was driven of the devil into the wilderness.)
And Jesus asked him, saying, What is thy name? And he said, Legion: because many devils were entered into him.
And they besought him that he would not command them to go out into the deep.
And there was there an herd of many swine feeding on the mountain: and they besought him that he would suffer them to enter into them. And he suffered them.
Then went the devils out of the man, and entered into the swine: and the herd ran violently down a steep place into the lake, and were choked.
When they that fed them saw what was done, they fled, and went and told it in the city and in the country.
Then they went out to see what was done; and came to Jesus, and found the man, out of whom the devils were departed, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed, and in his right mind: and they were afraid.
They also which saw it told them by what means he that was possessed of the devils was healed.
Then the whole multitude of the country of the Gadarenes round about besought him to depart from them; for they were taken with great fear: and he went up into the ship, and returned back again.
Now the man out of whom the devils were departed besought him that he might be with him: but Jesus sent him away, saying,
Return to thine own house, and shew how great things God hath done unto thee. And he went his way, and published throughout the whole city how great things Jesus had done unto him.
And it came to pass, that, when Jesus was returned, the people gladly received him: for they were all waiting for him.
And, behold, there came a man named Jairus, and he was a ruler of the synagogue: and he fell down at Jesus' feet, and besought him that he would come into his house:
For he had one only daughter, about twelve years of age, and she lay a dying. But as he went the people thronged him.
And a woman having an issue of blood twelve years, which had spent all her living upon physicians, neither could be healed of any,
Came behind him, and touched the border of his garment: and immediately her issue of blood stanched.
And Jesus said, Who touched me? When all denied, Peter and they that were with him said, Master, the multitude throng thee and press thee, and sayest thou, Who touched me?
And Jesus said, Somebody hath touched me: for I perceive that virtue is gone out of me.
And when the woman saw that she was not hid, she came trembling, and falling down before him, she declared unto him before all the people for what cause she had touched him, and how she was healed immediately.
And he said unto her, Daughter, be of good comfort: thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace.
While he yet spake, there cometh one from the ruler of the synagogue's house, saying to him, Thy daughter is dead; trouble not the Master.
But when Jesus heard it, he answered him, saying, Fear not: believe only, and she shall be made whole.
And when he came into the house, he suffered no man to go in, save Peter, and James, and John, and the father and the mother of the maiden.
And all wept, and bewailed her: but he said, Weep not; she is not dead, but sleepeth.
And they laughed him to scorn, knowing that she was dead.
And he put them all out, and took her by the hand, and called, saying, Maid, arise.
And her spirit came again, and she arose straightway: and he commanded to give her meat.
And her parents were astonished: but he charged them that they should tell no man what was done.
Kelly Commentary on Books of the Bible
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